Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Two Eyes of Maureen Russell

If you didn't attend some wonderful repertory/revival film screenings in 2012, you missed out. As nobody could see them all, I've recruited Frisco Bay filmgoers to recall some of their own favorites of the year. An index of participants is found here.  

The following list comes from Maureen Russell, cinephile and film festival volunteer.

It was hard narrowing down this year’s list after my first pick. This list includes a number of interesting films by or about strong women that I hadn’t previously heard of.

1) Napoleon – Paramount Theatre, Oakland  4/1/12 Directed by Abel Gance. 330 minutes.
I’d never seen this film before and it lived up to all the hype. Albert Diudonné as Napoleon was captivating, the music was excellent, and the time went by quickly. Seeing it at the beautiful Paramount and even having a dinner break added to the experience. Ending with the three screen finale – spectacular all in all.

2) Pandora’s Box San Francisco Silent Film Festival – the Castro Restored film
I’d seen this film a number of times, but with the bits of restored footage added back in, along with the fantastic accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble, this film was complete.  

3) Cleo from 5 to 7 – SFMoMA 7/5/12 Phyllis Wattis Theater Agnès Varda, 1962, 90 min., 35mm (nice print) In French with English subtitles.
Part of the SFMoMA’s Cindy Sherman Selects series, varied picks that inspired her photography. (I also enjoyed Seconds 7/19/12 John Frankenheimer, 1966, 35mm) This film takes place in almost real time.  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

4) Children of Paradise – the Castro  5/21/12 Pathé's new restoration, shown DCP  191 minutes
I was fascinated following the lead actress Arletty and this interwoven story.

5) Daisies – the Roxie – Nov. 28 A new 35mm print. Dir: Vera Chytilová. Starring Ivana Karbanova and Jitka Cerhova. Czechoslovakia. 1966. In Czech w/ English subtitles. 76 min.  

6) Roxie Punk films – SF shorts  7/28/12 Series trailer
This was a great series. San Francisco night – with a large crowd and directors in attendance – was my favorite.

From the event publicity notes: "This Must Be The Place: Post-Punk Tribes 1978-1982 is a series of short films documenting the regional post-punk scenes in the UK, France, Los Angeles/Orange County, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New York City, and elsewhere. SFMoMA's Gina Basso and Roxie programmer Mike Keegan have curated the most provocative and rarely seen visual documents of that profoundly important period in the history of DIY and underground culture.
"I Can See It And I’m Part Of It: San Francisco Punk Portraits 1978 - 82" In The Red is a slice of life from the perspective of two friends (co-directors Liz Keim and Karen Merchant) who followed the scene at close range.  Dirs: Liz Keim & Karen Merchant. Digital. 1978. 20 mins.
Louder, Faster, Shorter is raw and powerful performance document recorded at the Mabuhay Gardens in March 1978. Bands: UXA, The Dils, The Avengers, Sleepers, and Mutants  Dir: Mindaugus Bagdon. 16mm. 1978. 17 mins.
Bruce Conner segment includes music videos he made during this time: Mongoloid (music by Devo), and Mea Culpa (feauturing music by David Byrne & Brian Eno). Dir: Bruce Conner. Digital. 1977 – 1981."

Also enjoyed as part of the series: Sunday, July 29: Debt Begins At 20 Dir: Stephanie Beroes. 16mm. 1980. 50 mins. Pittsburgh Downtown 81 Dir: Edo Bertoglio. Written by Glen O’Brien. 35mm. 1981. 73 mins. Manhattan

7) Christiane F – the Roxie, 35 mm print, 4/6/12
I hadn’t seen this one in years.

8) The Docks of New York – the Castro – 7/15/12 Presented at the 2012 SF Silent Film Festival USA, 1928. Director Josef von Sternberg great cast George Bancroft (Bill Roberts), Betty Compson (Mae), Olga Baclanova (His wife), Musical Accompaniment: Donald Sosin on grand piano

9) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)– the Castro – 12/30/12
First time for me seeing this; best way to see it on the Castro’s screen. Digital restoration.

10) The Killers (1964) / Point Blank (1967) Noir City – the Castro, Jan 21, 2012. Angie Dickinson in person, interviewed in between films.
I’d never seen either of these films before. Great double feature.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maureen: When I was in Germany
    with my prents in 1981, Christiane F was playing everywhere, We skipped because we were hoping for something else, like a Fassbinder. I still haven't seen it, guess I should.